In December of last year, Jess and I found out we were pregnant. Okay, she was pregnant, but I think I might have had something to do with it, too.
Jess is diabetic, and that means the baby has a statistically higher risk of ending up with one or more defects. The doctor took her blood a couple weeks ago to do some tests, and he called us to say he was worried about spina bifida.
So we went to the hospital to have an ultrasound done – the equipment at the doctor’s just wasn’t powerful enough – to determine if the baby actually has spina bifida. As it turns out, she doesn’t, but this story is not over. They saw a problem with the heart, but couldn’t pinpoint it. So they told us that the baby has congenital heart disease. This may or may not, they told us, be operable. It also may or may not mean that the baby will die soon after birth.
I suppose knowing must be better than not knowing, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. I feel better now, though. Read on.
We went to Children’s Hospital’s Herma Heart Center, one of the best places you can go for a child’s heart care. They did an echo cardiogram and determined that our baby, instead of having two pumping chambers in her heart, has only one. And depending on the condition of her arteries connected to the heart, she may need an operation right after she’s born. For sure, though, she’ll need one at six months old and again at two or three years, to correct blood flowing in and out of the heart.
We’ll know more in four weeks, when we go back. The baby’s too small right now to see the arteries.
The news that our baby has heart disease is frightening. The prospect of the massive doctors’ bills is daunting. but our baby can be operated on – the one-chambered heart cannot be made into a two-chamber heart, but it’s something that people can live with. Our baby will live, and that is most important.
You may have noticed, I referred to the baby as “she.” The doctor is 80% sure that it’s a girl, so we’ve taken to calling it a her. If we do have a girl, we have a name picked out (if we have a boy, we’ll have to do some quick thinking). The name we like is Namine Olivia. the first name is japanese, from the Kingdom Hearts games. According to what I’ve found, it means ocean wave.